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Attack on Pearl Harbor, new book

 
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Attack on Pearl Harbor, new book - 5/15/2011 1:38:24 PM   
Phanatik


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I just started reading a new book. I'm in Chapter 4, and it seems as good (so far) as Shattered Sword.

http://www.amazon.com/ATTACK-PEARL-HARBOR-Strategy-Deceptions/dp/161200010X

Attack on Pearl Harbor
Strategy, Combat, Myths, Deceptions


-Phanatik
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RE: Attack on Pearl Harbor, new book - 5/15/2011 3:24:34 PM   
hbrsvl

 

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Phanatik-I've got that book also. I learned something new, re USN Fleet Ex air attacks on PH in the 20's and 30's. (Distance from SFO-PH is about same as PH- Marshalls, which was expected to be line of advance after DOW.)

I found several minor errors, such as "Halsey's Fifth Fleet", etc. On the whole good.

Hugh Browne

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RE: Attack on Pearl Harbor, new book - 5/18/2011 1:58:33 AM   
Local Yokel


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I have a copy of this book on order, but have a few days to wait before delivery is due.

The author, Alan Zimm, was also the creator of the excellent naval warfare simulator Action Stations that dates back to the eighties.

I am looking forward in particular to reading his treatment of the midget submarine attack, knowing that he is a proponent of the view that only one midget penetrated to the interior of Pearl Harbor. This led to a lively debate on the j-aircraft forum in which he made much of the view that "all the midgets' torpedoes have been accounted for" to support his thesis. Since the grounds for reaching such a conclusion have, I think, been put in doubt I shall be interested to learn what more he has brought to this particular debate.

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RE: Attack on Pearl Harbor, new book - 5/18/2011 10:00:31 AM   
herwin

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Local Yokel

I have a copy of this book on order, but have a few days to wait before delivery is due.

The author, Alan Zimm, was also the creator of the excellent naval warfare simulator Action Stations that dates back to the eighties.

I am looking forward in particular to reading his treatment of the midget submarine attack, knowing that he is a proponent of the view that only one midget penetrated to the interior of Pearl Harbor. This led to a lively debate on the j-aircraft forum in which he made much of the view that "all the midgets' torpedoes have been accounted for" to support his thesis. Since the grounds for reaching such a conclusion have, I think, been put in doubt I shall be interested to learn what more he has brought to this particular debate.


It's available on Kindle.

The author *seemed* familiar.

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RE: Attack on Pearl Harbor, new book - 5/25/2011 11:24:22 PM   
spence

 

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I also just got this book.

The author may have an axe to grind but he also seems to back up his points of view with Japanese materials.

Interesting that in IJN exercises pre-war the vaunted Netties never actually located the "Red Force" fleet. Even more interesting was that a large portion of the training of KB's flyers just prior to the attack seems to have been concentrated on such topics as landing on an aircraft carrier.

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RE: Attack on Pearl Harbor, new book - 5/26/2011 7:55:47 PM   
thegreatwent


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I have the book on order. I'll let you know what I think when I finish it.

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RE: Attack on Pearl Harbor, new book - 5/27/2011 2:39:20 PM   
mike scholl 1

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: spence
Even more interesting was that a large portion of the training of KB's flyers just prior to the attack seems to have been concentrated on such topics as landing on an aircraft carrier.



Hardly surprising, as carrier landings are difficult and dangerous even today. During WWII, Ops loses from carrier air landings were a serious drain on Air Groups and they required constant replenishment. Even the over-trained pilots than the IJN began the war with could be lost to a simple wind gust during these delicate manuevers. It required constant practice to maintain the "edge" needed for these "controlled crashes"..., and while you can find some carrier pilots that will maintain they were never afraid in combat, it's almost impossible to find one who won't admit trepidation during landings.

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RE: Attack on Pearl Harbor, new book - 5/27/2011 11:39:18 PM   
spence

 

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More to the point is that these pilots were practicing carrier landings and NOT practicing torpedo attacks. From what I have read so far in the book the whole "controversy" about how many torpedo-armed bombers would participate in the attack had been decided in September (even before a suitable torpedo modification for the shallow harbor had been developed). Additional bombers were not likely (IRL) because the training for ALL OF THE B5Ns other than those selected in September was solely for high level bombing (strangely that skill set was advocated by LCDR Fuchida who coincidentally specialized in that very skill; a method which was sliding into disrepute within the IJN because of its generally miserable results). The IJN did not have a large cadre of pilots skilled in torpedo attack.

From the game point of view maybe the IJN Player should get to choose how many B5Ns use torpedoes but to approximate history (at least on the first turn) the torpedo attack skill of many of those pilots should be in the 20s and 30s rather than the 70-90s.







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RE: Attack on Pearl Harbor, new book - 5/29/2011 1:57:13 PM   
hbrsvl

 

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spence-Re "landing on carriers." There was good reason for this.

Shokaku and Zuikaku (CarDiv 5) were brand new ships, commissioned in 9/41, etc., with very green air crew.

These crews were so green they were allocated to strike air and ground installations, not the fleet.

Hugh Browne

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Post #: 9
RE: Attack on Pearl Harbor, new book - 5/31/2011 12:55:21 AM   
spence

 

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quote:

Shokaku and Zuikaku (CarDiv 5) were brand new ships, commissioned in 9/41, etc., with very green air crew.

These crews were so green they were allocated to strike air and ground installations, not the fleet.


OOOOOOH!

I guess it was a diet of rice balls and sushi that conferred such amazing abilities in the air delivery of torpedoes to these greenies who had never launched a torpedo against an enemy warship (since with an average of 70 experience these guys are better than any American or British torpedo squadron).

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RE: Attack on Pearl Harbor, new book - 5/31/2011 2:06:44 AM   
Sardaukar


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quote:

ORIGINAL: spence

More to the point is that these pilots were practicing carrier landings and NOT practicing torpedo attacks. From what I have read so far in the book the whole "controversy" about how many torpedo-armed bombers would participate in the attack had been decided in September (even before a suitable torpedo modification for the shallow harbor had been developed). Additional bombers were not likely (IRL) because the training for ALL OF THE B5Ns other than those selected in September was solely for high level bombing (strangely that skill set was advocated by LCDR Fuchida who coincidentally specialized in that very skill; a method which was sliding into disrepute within the IJN because of its generally miserable results). The IJN did not have a large cadre of pilots skilled in torpedo attack.

From the game point of view maybe the IJN Player should get to choose how many B5Ns use torpedoes but to approximate history (at least on the first turn) the torpedo attack skill of many of those pilots should be in the 20s and 30s rather than the 70-90s.


I'd be very careful with Fuchida, who has been very much discredited in Japan (as the e.g. Shattered Sword writers note several times, based on Japanese sources). This was of course about Midway, but if he was able to lie so majorly about that, anything he wrote/said should be taken with major portion of salt.


< Message edited by Sardaukar -- 5/31/2011 2:08:32 AM >


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RE: Attack on Pearl Harbor, new book - 5/31/2011 3:28:19 AM   
Local Yokel


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quote:

ORIGINAL: spence

More to the point is that these pilots were practicing carrier landings and NOT practicing torpedo attacks. From what I have read so far in the book the whole "controversy" about how many torpedo-armed bombers would participate in the attack had been decided in September (even before a suitable torpedo modification for the shallow harbor had been developed). Additional bombers were not likely (IRL) because the training for ALL OF THE B5Ns other than those selected in September was solely for high level bombing (strangely that skill set was advocated by LCDR Fuchida who coincidentally specialized in that very skill; a method which was sliding into disrepute within the IJN because of its generally miserable results). The IJN did not have a large cadre of pilots skilled in torpedo attack.

From the game point of view maybe the IJN Player should get to choose how many B5Ns use torpedoes but to approximate history (at least on the first turn) the torpedo attack skill of many of those pilots should be in the 20s and 30s rather than the 70-90s.



I haven't finished reading my copy, but the above post puzzles me, for nowhere in Zimm's account have I found support for spence's proposition. In context, he must presumably be referring to torpedo attack skills amongst the aircrew of Type 97 carrier attack planes. More specifically, the issue is as to the torpedo skills of Type 97 aircrew embarked in Carrier Divisions 1 and 2, since only these divisions contributed attack planes committed to Pacific Fleet targets, as distinct from the airfield targets against which Carrier Division 5's Type 97's were committed.

What I understand Zimm to be saying is that in September 1941 the decision was taken to allot 40 Type 97's to torpedo attack and the remaining 50 Type 97's in CarDivs 1 and 2 to high level attack against battleships. It is also my understanding that the decision to commit a proportion of the Type 97 crews to high level attack stemmed from the perceived immunity from torpedo attack of each landward battleship moored as a pair alongside another vessel - in the actual attack this would turn out to be Maryland, Tennessee and Arizona.

A decision to commit 55% of CarDivs 1 and 2's Type 97 crews to high level attack tells you only that this was the split the Japanese decided to make in order to ensure that the inshore battleships were also attacked. Of itself it doesn't explain why that particular proportion was chosen, and it certainly doesn't justify a conclusion that the crews assigned to high level attack were unskilled at torpedo attack. So, if Zimm somewhere makes a case that there was a shortage of torpedo attack skills amongst Kido Butai's carrier attack plane crews, could someone please direct me to it?

In the game, you can monkey with the the composition of the Pearl Harbor strike groups, but you won't necessarily affect the outcome significantly. Recognising that in the game Kido Butai probably starts out with smaller airgroups than were actually committed to the Hawaii Operation, I set up a test in which the 3 chutai of the Yokosuka Airgroup's contingent of Model 11 Type 97's were embarked respectively in Akagi, Kaga and Hiryu. In the attack, not one of them flew.

Oh, and Zimm has strengthened my conviction that the attack by the 5 midget submarines was one of the most stupid errors the Japanese made in their plan for the operation.

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RE: Attack on Pearl Harbor, new book - 5/31/2011 9:15:33 AM   
mike scholl 1

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Local Yokel
In the game, you can monkey with the the composition of the Pearl Harbor strike groups, but you won't necessarily affect the outcome significantly. Recognising that in the game Kido Butai probably starts out with smaller airgroups than were actually committed to the Hawaii Operation,



I'm curious as to what basis you have for this statement...

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RE: Attack on Pearl Harbor, new book - 5/31/2011 11:08:04 AM   
Local Yokel


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In the stock game, Kido Butai starts out with 387 carrier aircraft. That's the simple part, easily verified for yourself.

The more difficult question is the exact number of Japanese carrier aircraft that actually went to Hawaii. We can take as a starting point the number of aircraft despatched in the two attack waves. Prange's translation of Fuchida's organisation chart for the attack gives 185 a/c in 1st wave, and 170 in 2nd wave - total 355. Compare and contrast with the Japanese Official War History's figures of 183 + 167 = 350 total attackers.

Note that the above figures are not necessarily reliable. There are problems with the official history's aircrew roster, derived from the kodochoshos of individual units. I understand that the kodochosho for Zuikaku's carrier bomber unit in particular is fragmentary. Nevertheless, a figure of not less than 350 aircraft committed to the actual attack appears to be sustainable.

That leaves the question of how many carrier fighters were retained for garrison over the carriers. More problems because the kodochosho for Kaga's CAP is lost. What seems to have been planned is for each carrier to have supplied one nine-plane chutai of Type 0's for garrison: see Prange Chapter 46. This implies a total of 54 aircraft retained for CAP duty, but Prange's notes suggest the possibility that in practice only 46 aircraft were so engaged.

Adding this up: 350 minimum aircraft committed to the attack plus 46 minimum Type 0's retained for CAP gives a total of 396 aircraft - nine more than the number available in game. A pity, really, that to some extent the edge has been taken off the keenest weapon in the Japanese armoury.

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RE: Attack on Pearl Harbor, new book - 5/31/2011 11:32:46 AM   
spence

 

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quote:

that leaves the question of how many carrier fighters were retained for garrison over the carriers. More problems because the kodochosho for Kaga's CAP is lost. What seems to have been planned is for each carrier to have supplied one nine-plane chutai of Type 0's for garrison: see Prange Chapter 46. This implies a total of 54 aircraft retained for CAP duty, but Prange's notes suggest the possibility that in practice only 46 aircraft were so engaged.


In his book Zimm states that the KB held a total of 45 Type 0's back as fleet defense.

He also states that Fuchida padded the results for every type of aircraft which attacked the fleet: that the actual number of hits attained by the 40 torpedo-armed bombers was about 45% rather than the 90 odd% claimed and that the high-level Type 97s got around 20% hits. (He also credits those hits with a 60% dud/low order detonation rate - this is the first time I've ever heard of or at least had quantified this significant failure of Japanese ordnance...seems at least as important as the USN torpedo dud rate).

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RE: Attack on Pearl Harbor, new book - 6/20/2011 3:33:15 AM   
Pascal


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quote:

ORIGINAL: hbrsvl

spence-Re "landing on carriers." There was good reason for this.

Shokaku and Zuikaku (CarDiv 5) were brand new ships, commissioned in 9/41, etc., with very green air crew.

These crews were so green they were allocated to strike air and ground installations, not the fleet.

Hugh Browne


This begs the question as to why the pilots of these units are so highly rated in WitP AE.

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RE: Attack on Pearl Harbor, new book - 6/20/2011 7:23:37 AM   
herwin

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Pascal


quote:

ORIGINAL: hbrsvl

spence-Re "landing on carriers." There was good reason for this.

Shokaku and Zuikaku (CarDiv 5) were brand new ships, commissioned in 9/41, etc., with very green air crew.

These crews were so green they were allocated to strike air and ground installations, not the fleet.

Hugh Browne


This begs the question as to why the pilots of these units are so highly rated in WitP AE.


Speculating: either it seemed like a good idea at the time, or it was necessary to get results approximating the historical. If you want to change it, I suspect you can.

_____________________________

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RE: Attack on Pearl Harbor, new book - 8/3/2011 2:42:47 PM   
Disco Duck

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: herwin


quote:

ORIGINAL: Pascal


quote:

ORIGINAL: hbrsvl

spence-Re "landing on carriers." There was good reason for this.

Shokaku and Zuikaku (CarDiv 5) were brand new ships, commissioned in 9/41, etc., with very green air crew.

These crews were so green they were allocated to strike air and ground installations, not the fleet.

Hugh Browne


This begs the question as to why the pilots of these units are so highly rated in WitP AE.


Speculating: either it seemed like a good idea at the time, or it was necessary to get results approximating the historical. If you want to change it, I suspect you can.


In the book a very good case is made for the concept that it wasn't the skill of the pilots that caused so much damage but how unexpectedly fragile the Battleships were. The Naval war college had expressed the expected life of a Battleship in equivalent number of 14 inch AP shell hits. With a torpedo being equivalent to three 14 inch AP hits. All of the Battleships at Pearl Harbor were at least 16.1

The results were radically different. Arizona two hits, the Nevada one torpedo and 7 GP Bomb hits ,etc. So if you want to decrease the skill of the Japanese pilots you will have to drastically reduce the pre upgrade durability of the battleships.

I have always wondered why the Battleships weren't used more during the early stages of the war. The answer seems to be that Nimitz was afraid to.

Overall I liked the book but it has a very rushed feel to it. Information like the Japanese aircraft losses are scattered throughout the book and stated in different ways.

Still a worthwhile buy.

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RE: Attack on Pearl Harbor, new book - 8/3/2011 9:18:26 PM   
Nikademus


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The battleship situation is old news. The more vulnerable conditions of the ships has been touched on in more than one technical source devoted to the ship type....Friedman in particular. Certainly California would not have sunk under normal battle conditions after but two torpedo hits....but her WT integrity was compromised by manhole covers having been removed or loosened for inspection...which was then exaserbated by the oil fires which forced her temporary abandonment. Oklahoma and WV were overwhelmed but the former might not have capsized. "Might" is operative word as Zimm discounts how close WeeVee came to capsizing. The author does make a good case that Arizona's death was not extraordinary but a clean penetration. Quoting Nathan Okun is rather big ammo. Nevada was the one great disapointment.....her lack of WT integrity was distressful to BuOrd. Zimm discounts the impact (ironically for me) of the GP bomb hits which had more of an impact on her sinking than he's willing to credit because he's too busy knocking heads together for the ship having been the target of GP bombs in the first place. Its interesting to find that alot of what newer books advertise as newly relevent have been touched on before. Another example is Shattered Sword......the big scoop about IJA and the shipping availability issue was cited all the way back in Bergerud's Fire in the Sky. Battleships are in general much tougher targets than carriers to sink. The thing that made BB's obsolete was that you couldn't build an expensive BB and not eliminate the risk that your major investment might either be crippled or sunk at the cost of a few far cheaper airplanes. It was thought that torpedo boats and subs would spell the death of the BB for the same reason but those weapons systems could be adequately countered. You could not adequately counter the air threat.

I found Zimm's book to be very cutting......worse even than Clay Blair's treatment of the Uboat campaign. He is derisive of the Japanese at almost all levels, acts like he's seen it done better before, but can only quote "Taranto" as a weak comparison, quotes tactics that he says were available but fails to mention there was noone in a better position to do it at that time. His tone and methods belie his stated intent on not being "revisionist" but only wishing to be objective and of having nothing but admiration for those who managed to pull off such a mission during a time of flux in the methodolgy. Very different from Glantz, who is just as technical and analytical in his books (just finished his work on August Storm) yet comes off much more fair and doesn't result to cheap digs at one side or the other as Zimm is prone to do in places. My honest impression after finishing the Kindle version was "Those Poor Dumb Japanese.....led by that Poor Dumb Yamamoto". Similar to Blair's "Those poor dumb Germans.......and those poor dumb prior historians who mucked up telling the REAL story of the Uboat campaign"

There were some interesting elements that i liked however. While he's merciless overall to Prange above all other "historians" he cites in his study his comments re: understanding the nature of Operational Wargaming were in fact kinder and more sensible than in more emtionally charged accounts as he documents in Prange (and for that matter, Parshalls/Tully). Unlike air ops, which i got the distinct impression the author doesn't quite grasp fully, he seems very conversant on the subject of professional naval wargaming.

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RE: Attack on Pearl Harbor, new book - 8/4/2011 12:40:54 AM   
herwin

 

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I'm not surprised Zimm quotes Okun as they participated in miniatures in Long Beach in the 1970s.

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RE: Attack on Pearl Harbor, new book - 8/4/2011 2:14:11 AM   
msieving1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Disco Duck

I have always wondered why the Battleships weren't used more during the early stages of the war. The answer seems to be that Nimitz was afraid to.



There's never been any great mystery as to why Nimitz didn't use the battleships more early in the war.

1) They were too slow to keep up with the carriers.
2) They used too much fuel, and the Pacific Fleet didn't have enough oilers to support them.

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RE: Attack on Pearl Harbor, new book - 8/4/2011 3:12:35 AM   
Mynok


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Pascal


quote:

ORIGINAL: hbrsvl

spence-Re "landing on carriers." There was good reason for this.

Shokaku and Zuikaku (CarDiv 5) were brand new ships, commissioned in 9/41, etc., with very green air crew.

These crews were so green they were allocated to strike air and ground installations, not the fleet.

Hugh Browne


This begs the question as to why the pilots of these units are so highly rated in WitP AE.


They aren't nearly as good as CarDiv 1 and 2 pilots.

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RE: Attack on Pearl Harbor, new book - 8/4/2011 6:14:18 AM   
vettim89


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I have not yet bought this book and am now disinclined to do so. I have noticed that many modern authors (not all) have a nasty tendency to let personal bias influence their writings. While I enjoyed Castles of Steel, I must say that Massie obviously disliked both Churchill and Beatty and chose to paint them in as negative a light as possible. I found the same type of writing in Evans' Sea of Thunder - especially his criticism of LCmdr Evans.

My copy of Sixteen Hundred Men shipped today. Will give a review when it arrives and I finish it

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RE: Attack on Pearl Harbor, new book - 8/4/2011 6:50:12 AM   
John 3rd


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We reduced the skill level of CarDiv5 pilots in RA to reflect reality as shown here.

Just ordered the book. Why NOT!??



< Message edited by John 3rd -- 8/4/2011 7:12:01 AM >


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Post #: 24
RE: Attack on Pearl Harbor, new book - 8/4/2011 2:24:16 PM   
hbrsvl

 

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vettim89-What is subject of "1600 Men"? Where does one order it?

Thanks, Hugh Browne

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Post #: 25
RE: Attack on Pearl Harbor, new book - 8/4/2011 3:34:30 PM   
vettim89


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quote:

ORIGINAL: hbrsvl

vettim89-What is subject of "1600 Men"? Where does one order it?

Thanks, Hugh Browne


I got it from Amazon.com. It follows the USNA class of 1936 through their time at Annapolis. BTW, its Sixteen Hundred Men written out. You search for 1600 and its no joy

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RE: Attack on Pearl Harbor, new book - 8/4/2011 4:23:20 PM   
Nikademus


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quote:

ORIGINAL: msieving1


quote:

ORIGINAL: Disco Duck

I have always wondered why the Battleships weren't used more during the early stages of the war. The answer seems to be that Nimitz was afraid to.



There's never been any great mystery as to why Nimitz didn't use the battleships more early in the war.

1) They were too slow to keep up with the carriers.
2) They used too much fuel, and the Pacific Fleet didn't have enough oilers to support them.



Caputo adds a third:

3) They were a reserve force in case the Japanese moved on the West Coast or Oahu.

(similar in concept to the Japanese employment of their primary battleline during the first stages of the war.....a reserve to protect Japan and their SRA op flank in case the US reinforced it's battle line and still sought early engagement.)

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Post #: 27
RE: Attack on Pearl Harbor, new book - 8/4/2011 4:33:08 PM   
Nikademus


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Mynok


quote:

ORIGINAL: Pascal


quote:

ORIGINAL: hbrsvl

spence-Re "landing on carriers." There was good reason for this.

Shokaku and Zuikaku (CarDiv 5) were brand new ships, commissioned in 9/41, etc., with very green air crew.

These crews were so green they were allocated to strike air and ground installations, not the fleet.

Hugh Browne


This begs the question as to why the pilots of these units are so highly rated in WitP AE.


They aren't nearly as good as CarDiv 1 and 2 pilots.


Yup....but i question the level of greeness. Less than Div1 and 2 yes.....so green they could barely fly formation? no. Zimm appears to mainly rely on Ron Werneth's "Beyond Pearl Harbor: untold stories of Japan's naval aviators" for these conclusions which is a book of interviews by surviving pilots of the IJNAF. The interviews echo the theme of almost "snobish" contempt CarDiv 1 and 2 pilots had of CarDiv5 mentioned at least once in just about every air book that touches on the JNAF. Zimm is however forced to admit at one point in his book that the Div5 pilots quote "would turn in a sterling performance, greatly exceeding all expectations and outshining the dive-bombers from the more experienced carriers." There is no direct evidence to support that Div5 pilots could not drop torps, particularily since Zimm himself points out that the TB pilots had to be pre-chosen, and then intensly trained for the specific conditions of PH. (this is why even while documenting that KB had plenty of torps for further ops, it was not simply a matter of altering the loadouts for KB....the same trained TB pilots would have to conduct the shallow harbor runs again with reloaded torps)

This didn't suprise me as CarDiv5 put in an equally sterling performance at Coral Sea as well. As with other sources, Lundstrom documented how CarDiv1/2 still looked down on them even by may of 42.

AE/WitP wise.....CarDiv5 is less rated than the older carriers.

< Message edited by Nikademus -- 8/4/2011 8:43:42 PM >

(in reply to Mynok)
Post #: 28
RE: Attack on Pearl Harbor, new book - 8/4/2011 5:30:27 PM   
vettim89


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While the CarDiv 5 pilots may not have been quie as experienced as the CarDiv 1/2 pilots, they were still a product of the pre-war IJN pilot traniing program which was by every account I have read extremely intense to a point bodering on brutality. To put it into modern terms: a newly minted SEAL or Green Beret may not be the equivalent of a veteran of those organizations but they would still be better than almost any other soldier in the world

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

(in reply to Nikademus)
Post #: 29
RE: Attack on Pearl Harbor, new book - 8/4/2011 5:44:13 PM   
Nikademus


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the author later expands his theme of green pilots to include all of KB while building up the PH AAC pilots so its all good . He was incorrect in saying that no veterans were in Div5. Lundstrom introduced a few in his book from the same Div.

BTW.....I have to admit.....i really like Masse and thought his Castles book was excellent. Honestly i didn't see his portrayal of Beatty as outwardly negative as it seems to only expand on what other sources have said. But i like to give benefit of doubt.....is there a more Beatty friendly book you'd recommend?

(in reply to vettim89)
Post #: 30
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